Zack Snyder has stepped down as director of Justice League to tend to a family emergency, alongside his wife/producing partner Deborah.
As reported by Slashfilm, in March of this year, the Snyders’ 20-year-old daughter Autumn committed suicide. To cope with the tragic loss of his daughter, Snyder dove headfirst into his work on Justice League, but has now decided to step down. Warner Bros. has called on the services of Joss Whedon to take over for him.
The film still appears to be on track to hits its November 17, 2017 release date. Reportedly, the studio offered to push the release date back, but both Zack and Deborah Snyder decided against such a move. Whedon, who is also directing Batgirl for Warner Bros., has come on board to “shepherd the movie through post [production] and the shooting of some additional scenes.” Snyder still retains a first-look deal with the studio, meaning he’ll be able to work on other projects when he returns to work.
Reportedly, Snyder had wanted to add some extra scenes to the movie, and had Whedon write them for him. However, when the time came to shoot those scenes in England, the filmmaker felt that he needed to be with his family and asked Whedon to step in for him.
“The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” WB Pictures president Toby Emmerich told The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”
Snyder recently took time to open up to THR about the tragedy:
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it. The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all consuming. And in the last two months I’ve come to the realization …I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public. I thought it would just be in the family, a private matter, our private sorrow that we would deal with. When it became obvious that I need to take break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet. They’ll do what they do. The truth is…I’m past caring about that kind of thing now. I want the movie to be amazing and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison. I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”
On behalf of everyone here at Goliath, my heart goes out to Snyder and his family in this unbelievably difficult time. Our thoughts are with you Zack; hang in there.